The research in Dr. Dann's laboratory focuses on determining atomic resolution structures of RNA and protein macromolecules by X-ray crystallography. A general scheme for structural analysis is shown below. These structures serve as a starting point to understand the biological systems under study and will guide experimentation in techniques based on biophysics, enzymology, analytical chemistry, cell biology and genetics. In short, our research techniques are based on how best to answer biological questions given initial structural insights. An emphasis is placed on proteins involved in folate trafficking as it relates to human disease, predominanatly cancer and inflammatory disease. In addition, we study cis-acting regulatory RNAs termed riboswitches and the signaling pathways that riboswitches regulate. In addition to structural biology, we are interested in both manipulating riboswitches to generate engineered molecular sensors (on/off switches) and testing riboswitches as targets in small molecule screens to discover new antibiotics. Projects in the laboratory afford the researcher opportunities to learn computational modeling, structural and biophysical techniques as well as general biochemistry and molecular biology in both RNA and protein systems.
For more details on research projects, see the links below or contact any member of the lab.
Page updated on 13 August 2012